An initiative which teaches young people emergency first aid to save the lives of victims of violence has received national recognition.
StreetDoctors – set up in Liverpool and now a national charity – has won the John Hawkins award, presented by the Association of Youth Offending Team Managers.
The award recognises creative youth justice work by Youth Offending teams (YOTs) and was named in memory of John Hawkins, who was a founding member of the Association of Youth Offending Team Managers and its Treasurer.
StreetDoctors was established in 2008 after two medical students, who were teaching first aid to young people in a Liverpool Youth Offending Team scheme, were shocked that all those present had witnessed a stabbing.
They decided to teach young people essential emergency life-saving skills so they could act if they were present at the scene of a violent injury as it is vital that someone who is stabbed, shot or collapses receives immediate help before an ambulance arrives.
This led to the StreetDoctors’ team being set up with the help of Liverpool Youth Offending Team.
It is now a national charity with 16 teams and 280 medical volunteers who hold weekly sessions in 12 cities across the country. This year StreetDoctors is expected to work with 2500 young people.
StreetDoctors’ sessions tailor complicated information about first aid to make it relevant to young people at risk. Medical consequences of violence are discussed, in a pragmatic, no-nonsense way, countering a common belief among young people that there are ‘safe places to stab someone’.
Young people are treated as potential lifesavers – they are encouraged to think of themselves as responsible individuals who can make a positive difference and there are at least five known cases of young people acting in an emergency after attending a StreetDoctors’ session.
In making the award the judges said:
Rebecca Long, one of the StreetDoctors, said:
John Hawkins’ son, Roddy, said:
Councillor Emily Spurrell, Mayoral lead for community safety, said: